Doctors concerned about another wave of COVID cases

Kentucky healthcare systems have been plagued by a nursing shortage.
Kentucky healthcare systems have been plagued by a nursing shortage.
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 11:54 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2021 at 11:56 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - COVID-19 cases in Kentucky are now the highest the state has experienced in nine weeks.

While the omicron variant has received international attention, doctors say the current case numbers in Kentucky are still driven by the delta variant.

Kentucky hospitals are keeping a close eye on COVID cases. Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor with UofL Hospital said hospitalization numbers usually increase about a week later.

“We see folks get worse around the eight to 14 day mark,” Briones-Pryor said. “So, when they first start seeing symptoms, they might be mild enough that people think, ‘Oh, I can do this at home, I’m going to be fine.’ And a lot of times the hope is that it does go well and they do get through it, but then we also see patients who don’t do well.”

Throughout Louisville, 166 patients are currently hospitalized. There are 41 patients in the ICU and 26 on ventilators.

Dr. Joseph Flynn said they’re seeing the numbers rise at Norton Hospital, and many of those cases have something in common.

“When we look at the people who are being admitted, it’s still approximately 90 percent of unvaccinated people are getting so ill that they require admissions,” Flynn said.

He warned cases could keep increasing during the winter as people gather indoors for the holidays.

“We see that whether it’s the flu each year with communicable diseases such as that related to close contact with people,” he explained.

Doctors agree the next few weeks will be crucial watching case numbers and learning more about the omicron variant.

“Our treatment plan would not change,” Briones-Pryor said. “It didn’t change with delta, it didn’t change with the other variants as well. So we’ll still treat you the best way we can with what we have.”

The omicron variant hasn’t been detected in Louisville yet, but health officials said they expect it to show up any day.

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